donut pan idea no. 19: shortbread cookie cups

If you've been following my 101 Donut Pan Ideas project, we're doing something new today. We're going to use the backside of the pans and make amazing shortbread cookie cups, for serving and eating things like sorbet and ice cream and mousse and what-have-you. I stumbled upon this idea while on vacation last month, screaming at me from page 52 of the August 2012 summer travel issue of Martha Stewart Living. Martha's cups were molded on the backs of muffin tins. I took that idea and put a donut hole in it. David ate two of these a day, with ice cream and berries and all, until they were gone. They are so good, and so fun.

I used a basic shortbread recipe from Martha Stewart. I don't know if it's because I used sea salt, but the shortbread came out salty in a very nice way. Here is the link to the simple recipe. It yielded twelve delicious cookie cups, baked at 275º for around 20 minutes (start watching closely at 18 minutes, to make sure they are lightly golden, not browned).

Salt, sugar, vanilla, butter, flour.

This recipe is a little sticky, but don't use too much flour on your work
surface or the dough will get too crumbly to work with.

Here's where things get weird. Butter the BACKSIDE of your donut pans. I should tell you that this
isn't totally necessary. I coated two pans with butter, one with baking spray and left one pan
ungreased, and all of the cookie cups released perfectly. Lucky me!

Next, break off small balls of dough and roll out to 1/4" thick, and large enough from which
you can cut a 4 1/2"+/- circle. Cut a small hole (or even better, a cross) in the center.

Gently press onto the backside of the pans, shaping around the convex donut form. The less
you handle the dough, the less it will melt, and the better your cookie will be.

Space apart, alternating as shown here. I have four pans, so I was able to bake the whole dozen at once. Like I mentioned above, bake at 275º (per the shortbread recipe I used) for only about 20 minutes, give or take.

Look how pretty. Think of all the things you could serve in that sweet, shallow bowl!

I'll be honest, over half of them got eaten just like this.

But we did enjoy several like this.

They were wonderful with lemon sorbet and berries. Really easy to make and totally delicious. I thought about melting some bittersweet chocolate into the bottoms, but it wasn't necessary. Let me know if you try these, they would be great for a party!


  1. Replies
    1. I think it's time you get yourself a set of donut pans, lady. Or even better, get them for your mom. :)

  2. I love this idea! They look so darn good! I think they look better than the muffin tin.

    Here is an idea--I heard of someone using the back of muffin pans to make little tortilla cups. I'd love to see your donut interpretation of it. Just an idea!

    1. Thanks, Dottie! I like your idea a lot! I was flipping through Martha's hors d'oeuvres cookbook recently and saw a lot of little things like tortillas and breads that could be molded in or around a pan, so they are definitely on the agenda. Filled with my heart of palm ceviche, maybe? Yummers.

  3. This is such an awesome dessert!! Love your photos.

    1. Thank you, Val! Thank you for stopping here, because now I've found your blog. Looks like you have some great recipes I need to try!


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